With the implementation of the EU Directive 2014/55/EU of 16 April 2014, public clients in European tendering procedures are obliged to be able to both receive and process electronic invoices. This E-Invoicing Directive of the European Commission was implemented into national law in the European countries over the past years. So what does the implementation of the EU Directive on electronic invoicing in public tendering procedures look like in Germany?
Compliance with the German B2G E-Invoicing regulations
From 27 November 2020 onwards, all parties issuing invoices to the federal administration have to submit an electronic invoice. Public contractors include, for example, federal, regional or municipal administrations, energy companies, schools, and hospitals. In accordance with section 2 of the E-Invoice Regulation in Germany, an electronic invoice is a document for settling costs of deliveries and other services provided that “[…] a structured electronic format is issued, transmitted, and received, and provided that the format allows for the automatic processing of the document using electronic systems.”
The E-Invoice Regulation of the federal government also specifies requirements for the invoice data model and transfer of the electronic invoice. In general, an e-invoice has to be submitted as a so-called XRechnung. Alternatively, another data transfer standard that is equivalent to the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) may be used.
How XRechnung and ZUGFeRD make up the technical interface for the German B2G E-Invoicing Regulations
XRechnung is understood to mean an e-invoice format on XML basis that was developed by the German Coordination Office for IT Standards (KoSIT = Koordinierungsstelle für IT-Standards) in order to comply with the CEN requirements (European Committee for Standardization). In addition to the XRechnung data format, it is also possible to use data formats like ZUGFeRD (Zentraler User Guide des Forums elektronische Rechnung Deutschland, Central User Guide of the German Forum for Electronic Invoices). With the version ZUGFeRD 2.0.1, the Forum elektronische Rechnung Deutschland (FeRD) has published a format that is similar to the French standard Factur-X 1.0 and that complies with EU Directive 2014/55/EU and the German E-Invoice Regulation. A ZUGFeRD invoice has the advantage that it can be either a PDF or an XML file. This means that the recipient of such an invoice can, depending on the requirements, display the invoice as a PDF or may receive only the XML file, as is, for example, mandatory for public authorities in Germany from November 2020.
Which solutions does SAP offer to receive or send XRechnung files?
SAP Document Compliance: a strategic, integrated SAP solution to implement the German B2G legal e-invoicing requirements
Given the increasing number of country-specific legal requirements around the globe, internationally operating companies are challenged with finding a strategy and solutions for compliance with these local regulations, such as the B2G e-invoicing regulation in Germany. This is why SAP developed the SAP Document Compliance solution (with the integrated SAP eDocument Cockpit) for customers who have to meet global legal requirements, such as electronic invoicing or fiscal regulations. This SAP solution can also be used to create and send an XRechnung XML file to public contractors in Germany. All information that is required will be collected in your SAP ECC or S/4HANA system, data in the SAP eDocument format are converted into the required XML format and sent as an XML file to the recipient (public contractor), e.g. via PEPPOL. After the German tax authority has received or rejected the e-invoice, their feedback is sent back and displayed in the so-called eDocument Cockpit in SAP. With this, SAP offers a fully automated end-to-end solution the likes of which are already available in countries such as Italy (SDI), Mexico (CFDI) or Spain (SII).
How PIKON can help you to make your SAP system compliant with the German E-Invoice Regulation?
Over the past years, PIKON put a clear focus on legal requirements and established its “PIKON Competence Centre for Legal Requirements”. Our competence centre supported our clients in the successful implementation of different SAP solutions, such as the SAP Document Compliance solution, for compliance with different country-specific legal requirements. In doing so, we have not only been able to gather technical expertise, but also legal experience. As a result, we can support you when implementing the SAP Document Compliance solution and guarantee that your SAP ECC or SAP S/4HANA system will comply with the provisions of the German B2G E-Invoicing Regulation. With this, you have a strategic tool for meeting all German XRechnung requirements, which will help you to prevent severe penalties for non-compliance. In addition to merely complying with legal requirements, e-invoicing also offers your company the chance to save costs and can become a driver for the further digitalisation of your sales and procurement processes.